Frankfurt at Night 2020 – 8K Timelapse Film

It’s been a while since we made a proper time lapse film. In summer 2019 we did a flow motion film for a local five-star hotel which featured interior shots as well as general shots of the city of Frankfurt. The project didn’t take a long time to shoot but took quite a while to edit. This was due to the style of the film that made it look like it was shot in one take without clear cuts and constant motion.

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In October while testing a motion controlled slider system I re-discovered how much fun it is to shoot long exposure timelapses. So I decided to start a new project that should focus on calm and long sequences rather than quick and hectic shots.

Shooting with a motion controlled camera slider

Winter in Germany is the perfect time for night shoots because it gets dark early, around 5pm. Another advantage is that the trees don’t have leaves anymore which usually allows for better views.

The production took place all over Frankfurt’s city center between late November 2019 and February 2020.

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The film is very simple from a technical point of view but that was also the concept to give the viewer the chance to really see what’s actually happening in the shot. Only a few shots were captured with a motion controlled slider and video head. Most of the scenes were static with the camera on a regular photo tripod.

On location in Frankfurt’s Eastend

The main issue during the shoot were heavy winds which are possible the worst thing that can happen when exposing long. Why? Because the photos and in the end the whole video will look blurry. In a few shots this issue is still visible. Even stabilization tools can’t help with that.

Downtown

The post production of the still frames was very simple and nothing out of the ordinary. The raw photos were processed with Adobe’s CameraRaw / Photoshop and put together as a sequence in After Effects CC 2020. The project was shot with multiple cameras that allow a resolution of 8K, some shots were upscaled from 6K. But most people will probably watch the film in 480p on their phones anyway and let’s be realistic: Who owns an 8K TV or monitor? Plus YouTube’s compression isn’t too kind on large, high resolution files.

Written by filmmaker Moritz Janisch on February 28, 2020

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